Reaping Rain

Farm Ponds Project, Kadapa

Dalmia Bharat, the non-profit arm of the Dalmia Group, looks into corporate social responsibility initiatives by the Group. It has been working on creating water harvesting capacities with an aim to reach over 14 million meter cubes by 2020, and has already touched 5.2 million meter cube of water harvesting in FY 18.

The group’s work in Kadapa district in Andhra Pradesh spans over a land area of 15,000 km2 with around 65% of its population living in rural areas.

The Government of India had declared the district of Kadapa as one of the top 250 backward districts in the country in 2006. Within Kadapa, the location of Dalmia Bharat Foundation’s interventions has also been declared as drought prone.

Majority of the villagers in the region are small and marginal farmers and their major sources of income are agriculture, which is rainfed, and rearing milch cattle. Both these occupations need significant amount of water for effective yield.

Realising the need to scale up the water harvesting work in the area, the Dalmia Bharat Foundation (DBF) partnered with the local District Water Management Agency (DWMA) since 2016. Based on the needs identified in the community, DBF mapped the resource requirements for creating water harvesting structures.

In collaboration with the local community and DWMA, a detailed project plan was drafted, resources were mobilized and the project was executed with implementation being led by the community.

A total of 218 farm ponds have been constructed in the project, creating an additional water harvesting capacity of 2.61 lakh m3. The water from the farm ponds is used in agriculture and for domestic purposes. This water is also used for the milch animals and this has led to an increase in milk yield by 2-3 litres per day, leading to an increase in the monthly income of families by INR 4,000 to 6,000.

For ensuring sustainability of the intervention, Water User Groups (WUGs) were promoted with the responsibility to maintain the structures created under the project. The WUGs operate under the leadership of Women Milk Producers’ Company of Nawabpet, a Farmer Producer Company promoted by DBF called Dalmia Nawabpet Milk Producer Company Pvt. Ltd., with a total of 330 shareholders.